A James Bond-style amphibious craft that uses four wheel drive to enter and leave the sea will be making its European debut in North Wales. The £220,000 AMP rib will be among the stars of the All Wales Boat and Leisure Show at the Anglesey Showground from Thursday, May 30, to Saturday, June 1.
The ambitious craft is just one of many that Pwllheli and Southampton-based Ideal Boat plan to showcase at the event. The company have designed bespoke versions of the high-powered vessel with Ocean Craftmarine who specialise in making rigid inflatables for the military and law enforcement agencies world-wide.
Ideal Boat will also be showcasing some of their other impressive brands like Chaparral, Finnmaster, Husky, Robalo, Spectre and Capelli.
Managing director Neville Williams, 44, founded the company in 2012, and they have seen global success, not least being crowned international dealer of the year by American boat makers Chaparral every year since 2014.
“Chaparral are a fantastic company. They are the biggest selling, number one sports boat brand in the UK & USA, and I am very proud that outside the USA we are their biggest and most successful dealer.”
This year, the company will be unveiling their new brand, AMP, which is a collaboration with Ocean Craftmarine. Their parent company Solico also produces 90 per cent of the world’s snowboards and wakeboards.
“They’re amphibious ribs with wheels on legs that drop down and they drive out of the sea and straight up the beach – AMP have made different versions for us, ranging in price from £156,000 to £300,000 including VAT.
“It’s a quality rigid inflatable boat with seating that can cope with bad seas if necessary and has an onboard 35 horsepower Vanguard engine as well as the 4wd hydraulic legs which enables you to drive on dry land. It’s very James Bond, it’s very glamorous and a lot of fun.
“The AMP will be making its first ever appearance anywhere at the All Wales Boat and Leisure Show, and although they have not even arrived in the country yet, I have sold a number of them already.”
The All Wales Boat and Leisure Show is a major event in the UK boating calendar, and the largest event in Wales, taking place at the Anglesey Showground.
Organiser Davina Carey-Evans, managing director of Beaumaris-based Sbarc Event Management, revealed the marine sector is growing faster in Wales than any other part of the UK and boating generates an annual tourism spend of £282 million.
Davina, who has previously been involved with marine events such as the One Ton Cup, a world-renowned sailing event which was based in Pwllheli in 2001 and the annual Round Anglesey Race, said:
“The All-Wales Boat Show has evolved and grown and the 2019 event will also include a strong leisure element, with holiday parks like The Warren in Abersoch and Plas Coch on Anglesey being represented.
“Moving the show to Anglesey showground will hopefully be a catalyst for our plan to turn the island into a major events hub.
“We certainly have all the right ingredients. Anglesey is already a destination for 1.8 million visitors every year looking for things to see and do while, the venue is ideal, with 3000 square metres of undercover buildings, parking for 3,000 vehicles and excellent accessibility as it’s just off the A5 and A55.
The show will connect together industry leaders in boat and leisure products and services across Wales, with not only fishing and boating enthusiasts but all those that have a passion for the great outdoors. Anglesey is popular with surfers and scuba divers, who pump £7.8 million into the local economy.
“The show is a family friendly and an engaging event with the opportunity to discover a huge range of exhibitors, show events and activities where you can have a go too. It is a must-visit for event boat owners, watersport-lovers or families looking for a great day out and there is also a glamping site for those who want to stay overnight.”
The event also has the backing of Jim Jones, the managing director of North Wales Tourism.
“North Wales is undoubtedly the European capital of adventure tourism and marine tourism is a big part of that. North Wales generally and Anglesey specifically has so much to offer. It’s second to none.
“We already have fantastic attractions on the Menai Strait, including RibRide and the brilliant facilities at the National Outdoor Centre for Wales, Plas Menai, which excels in delivering the ultimate in water sports courses and outdoor adventure activities.
“There is so much confidence in the industry, so much investment going into North Wales, and we’re now reaping the rewards.
“The plan to stage the All-Wales Boat and Leisure Show at the Anglesey Showground heralds another economic boost for the region and underlines that we are now in a golden age for tourism.”